This initiative is turning old, worn-out cotton clothing into raw fibers for reuse in the textile industry, using a cellulose dissolution technique.

Recycling old cotton into new material has proven to be very challenging, as the recycled fibers are too short to be spun into new thread. The cellulose dissolution technique from the Relooping Fashion Initiative, however, allows for virtually unlimited recycling of cotton without the addition of harmful chemicals or new material. The process does not require the use of sulphur, avoiding environmental and occupational health risks in the production of new textiles. Cel­lu­lose dis­sol­u­tion reduces wa­ter us­age by 70% and en­ergy con­sump­tion by 50%, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

The technique has proven the ability to recycle cotton fibers for textile production, helping to reduce the consumption demand for new cotton. A pilot project is currently operating in Finland, with the first commercially available clothing lines made from 100% recycled fibers expected soon.

This is the first time post-consumer textile waste has been used on an industrial scale to make high-quality fiber all without the need for any harmful chemicals.

Ali Harlin – Research Professor, VTT

Why you should care

The decomposition of clothes in landfills releases methane and increases the risk of dyes and other chemicals leaching into the environment. The Relooping Fashion Initiative’s circular approach to recycling cotton fibers reduces textile waste and provides a valuable source of raw material for new clothes.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Good Health and Well-Being

This initiative en­ables the pro­duc­tion of gar­ments without the re­lease of harm­ful chem­ic­als.

Responsible Consumption and Production

By repurposing textiles that would otherwise end up in landfills, the initiative reduces waste from the fashion industry, whilst also achieving cost savings in raw materials.